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Sheffield People's Art School and Gallery

Part 1 Project 2001
Alexander Mingozzi
University of Sheffield Sheffield UK
This complex of buildings, sited on the original "Castle Hill" of Sheffield, addresses its context of brutalist 1960s market buildings and massive Victorian warehouses by making itself visible from many parts of the city and using hardy, industrial materials such as exposed steel, concrete and glazed brickwork.
The major building and subsidiary buildings are arranged along a structural ‘spine’, a concrete grid that rises along a new pedestrian urban route and dictates future expansion down towards the river Don, acting as a catalyst for development. A variety of art display spaces cascade downward, some external, some covered, some subterranean. The markets continue below pedestrian level and light wells frame both the viewer and the viewed; above, connected by staircases, artist studios are dotted along the ‘spine’.
The art buildings and spaces redefine the lost and clashing urban grain. By filling in a hole they frame views, create a street and provide a public building.
The building forms and arrangement can be read as a scaled down version of the city, with streets, side streets, private and public gardens, roofscapes, vistas, buildings and a variety of superimposed movement patterns: vehicular, pedestrian and internal.

Alexander Mingozzi


The original motives lay in trying to understand a difficult urban setting and how this may provide ‘clues’ for his subsequent gestures (brief, site and agenda were set down by the student). Earlier studies focused on revealing the existing context whilst trying to develop the investigations in relationship to his interest in art. His intensive working through models at various scales allowed him and others to discuss the appropriate responses as set down by his brief.

The resulting project is one, which grapples and succeeds in offering a proposal that demands attention. The use of the large sectional drawing throughout highlights his intrinsic ability to show an understanding of materiality, light and textures. He has offered human occupation and understood the appropriateness of the spaces he has created. An intelligent scheme, which succeeds in tackling the urban relevance of a new building at all levels.

An intelligent, hardworking student who has developed a personal approach which will surely prosper in years to come.

2001
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